Are Bike Racks Universal? How to Know If a Rack Will Fit Your Bike

So you have a new bike and want to purchase a bike rack for your car. You go to the store, find one that has all of the features you need, but as soon as you start shopping around, it becomes clear that there are so many different styles and types of racks on the market.

How do you know which ones will fit your bike? There is no universal answer – every style of rack will only work with certain bikes. In this article, we’ll show how to determine if a particular mount will work with your vehicle and what type of bicycle it’s meant for.

So, Are Bike Racks Universal?

No, bike racks are not universal. The only way to know for sure is by reading the description on the box or in-store. But here are some general guidelines:

Racks that require a front-wheel skewer – This style of the rack will work with almost any bike, but they usually do not fit fat-tire bikes with wide rims and tires because there isn’t enough space between the tire and the inside of the rack.

Racks that attach to a rear-wheel hub or frame – These racks will only work with bikes that have a quick release, which makes them great for road bikes! They usually fit fat tire bikes as well because they’re simply attached around the front end of your bike’s frame rather than grabbing onto it.

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Rack style

There are three main styles of bike racks: trunk-mounted, roof-mounted, and hitch mount. Each one has different bikes that they work best with based on the type of rack and its mounting method.

Trunk mounted racks attach to a car’s rear bumper or hatchback door and usually sit at waist height for easy loading. This style of rack works with almost every type of bike, but they are often difficult to load if you have a trunk liner or other obstructions in the way!

Roof-mounted racks typically attach directly to crossbars on your car’s roof and sit at waist height for easy loading. They will only work with cars that have factory-installed crossbars, and they should only be used with vehicles that don’t have a sunroof. The last type of bike rack is the hitch mount style.

This one attaches to a car’s trailer hitch and sits at waist height for easy loading as well. It will only work with cars that have factory-installed hitches!

In order to make sure a bike rack will work with your vehicle, you’ll need to determine if it has a rear bumper or hatchback door and whether or not the car’s roof has crossbars. If there isn’t room between the tire and inside of the metal rack arms for it to fit properly, then that style is probably not going to work!

Now that you know what type of bike rack might work with your vehicle, you need to determine if it will fit your bicycle. Most racks are labeled for different types of bikes depending on the style and design.

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Then there is the question of how many bikes do you want to carry, 2,3, or 4? most bikes rack are either 2 or 4 (and 3 of course when buying a bike rack fitted for 4)

Maybe 2 for now but perhaps a friend or family member wants to join you in the future. If your mother-in-law wants to join maybe stick to 2. But don’t tell her I said that!


If you have a hitch don’t forget to look up the size of your hitch:

Class 1 Hitch

passenger cars and small crossover

Receiver Size: 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ receiver

Weight Rating: Up to 2,000 lbs

Class 2 Hitch

lightweight towing applications

Receiver Size: 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ receiver

Weight Rating: Up to 3,500 lbs

Class 3 Hitch

pickup trucks and SUV

Receiver Size: 2″ x 2″ receiver

Up to 8,000 lbs

Class 4 Hitch

pickup trucks and SUV

Receiver Size: 2″ x 2″ receiver

 Up to 10,000 lbs

So, now that we’ve got all of this covered – are bike racks universal? That depends on how picky you are about your rack working with a certain type of vehicle and bike, but there is one thing we can tell you for sure – the only way to know if a particular style will work with your car is by reading the description on the box or in-store.

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Do rear bike racks fit all cars?

The rear bike rack consists of hitch mounted and trunk-mounted. Trunk mounted are usually used by owners who don’t have a hitch.

Hitch-mounted bike racks for cars with, you guessed it, a hitch. if you going to use a trunk-mounted, getting in the trunk after installing the bike rack is a hassle.

So rear bike racks do not fit all cars, simply put because there are differences between bike racks. and if you would look specifically at hitch mounted bike rack there are various hitches

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How do I know what rack will fit my bike?

If you check our buyer’s guides you probably will find a fitting bike rack for your car and your needs. check the max weight of the rack and will your wheels fit in the wheel support, this is especially handy if you have a bike with fat tires.

Maybe you maybe want to buy a rack where the wheel support can be adjusted.

The size of your receiver hitch, this is especially important if you have a class two or three hitches. the receiver size is the cross-section of your hitch.

Every bike rack has its own maximum weight rating, so you want to be sure that it can carry enough bikes and their weight + whatever else you put on the rack. for example, a heavy mountain bike, or e-bike will weigh more than an entry-level road bike.

  • Max weight of the rack
  • will the wheel from your bike fit in the wheel supports


When it comes to bike racks, there are three main styles you can choose from. Trunk-mounted bike racks attach through the trunk of your car and typically only carry one or two bikes at a time.

Roof-mounted bike racks don’t require any extra equipment such as a hitch but do take up some space on top of the vehicle. Hitch mount bike carriers securely hold four bicycles and work with all vehicles that have a standard 2” trailer hitch receiver (hitch size varies by make).

If you’re looking for something more compact than roof-mounted models, then trunk mounts might be more suitable for you! Do note that rear bike rack designs vary in how many bikes they can fit so keep this in mind when shopping around!

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